Week Five Steelers Vs Chargers Second Half Notes And Observations

The Pittsburgh Steelers topped the San Diego Chargers on Monday night by squeaking by on a last-second touchdown, securing the 24-20 victory. Below are my notes and observations in review of the second half of the game.

  • It was Brandon Boykin who whiffed on what should have been a fairly routine tackle on the kickoff to Jacoby Jones to start the third quarter. The kick itself was about seven yards deep into the end zone, and Boykin had the opportunity to make the tackle at about the eight-yard line. As a result of his miss, Jones caught the sideline out to the 22.
  • On the first play of the half, Jarvis Jones did a good job of scraping off the block of the tight end to work down the line and make the tackle on Melvin Gordon.
  • After Antwon Blake missed a tackle on Antonio Gates, Mike Mitchell came up to make the tackle after a 12-yard gain. He injured himself on the play and was replaced by Shamarko Thomas, who recovered a fumble forced by Jones three plays later.
  • To be fair to Blake, he did make the tackle on Gordon on the next play, forcing him into the inside hole and tripping him up as he passed. Thomas was knocked to the ground on the play after, failing to keep his head on a swivel.
  • No, Thomas was never touched, and should have been able to get up and advance the ball. It was an early whistle that continued on the Steelers’ first offensive play, with Le’Veon Bell still churning his feet as the play was blown dead after three yards.
  • The offense failed to capitalize on the turnover, once again, going three-and-out and punting, though the defense responded by holding the Chargers to a four-play drive.
  • Yes, it was Thomas who chased Jones off the ball, letting it go, where it took a favorable Steelers bounce to be downed at the four-yard line.
  • Bud Dupree notched his third sack of the year after blowing by the right tackle on second down, looping back around the edge to jump on Philip Rivers from behind.
  • Of course, the Steelers offense responded with a three-and-out as well on a drive that began with Mike Vick being sacked on first down. Marcus Gilbert allowed pressure to force the quarterback into the pocket before he was brought down. Pressure allowed up the middle on third down almost caused an interception.
  • After back and forth futility between the two teams, the Chargers looked to get something started on offense after the Steelers downed their most recent punt at the five-yard line. Rivers hit on a couple of big throws, including a 20-yarder, before Gordon was tackled for a two-yard loss on a check down under pressure. Blake picked off Rivers on the next play, returning it for a 70-yard touchdown, undercutting a rounded route by the receiver.
  • San Diego did respond with a field goal drive, which was assisted by some poor tackling, as Lawrence Timmons missed one on Gordon on a short pass that went for 17 yards. On the following play, both defenders vacated the same zone on a 24-yard pass, on which Mitchell injured himself again making the tackle, perhaps getting dirt in his eye or something of that nature.
  • Golden’s safety blitz on third down helped force an incompletion to make the Chargers settle for a field goal.
  • Matt Spaeth doesn’t get many targets, so it’s unfortunate that he failed to come up with the one that he got on the following drive, which was I believe his first target of the season. It would have gone for a first down, but instead the Steelers went three-and-out.
  • Vick nearly threw another interception on third down, his third potential pass that could have been intercepted but wasn’t during the game.
  • What followed was Jordan Berry’s worst punt of the night, a 38-yarder that only reached the 35-yard line. Roosevelt Nix made an excellent tackle after a five-yard return, eluding one blocker in the process.
  • The Chargers started out that drive with a hold, but Ross Cockrell was flagged for pass interference on the next play to negate that positional advantage.
  • Cameron Heyward drew yet another holding penalty, but Cockrell got beat for a 32-yard gain on the following play all the way down to the 27-yard line.
  • Three plays later, on third and 10, Rivers did a nice job of beating the blitz and getting the pass out to Gates for the first down.
  • William Gay did an excellent job of defending a pass in the end zone a play later. But the drive ended the way the game started, by Gates beating the safety to the left corner for a touchdown, only this time it was Golden.
  • Dri Archer returned the ensuing kickoff out to the 28-yard line, which set up a 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton for his first and only reception of the game. He had to play cornerback on his previous target just to prevent an interception after a bad pass.
  • Heyward and Harrison both got home on the pass rush on first down of the Chargers’ next drive, but Rivers was able to get the pass off for a positive gain.
  • Cockrell did read one screen pass that he was able to close in on for no gain on that drive. On second down, the official got in the way of the coverage on a nine-yard reception.
  • After a conversion, the defense shut down, forcing an incomplete pass on first down to Gordon. Blake and Cockrell held a crossing pattern to two yards on second down, then pressure on third and long forced an incompletion before the Chargers hit on a 54-yard go-ahead field goal.
  • Vick converted three third-down plays on the Steelers’ 80-yard game-winning touchdown drive after converting just two the rest of the game.
  • The first came on a third-and-one, on which Darrius Heyward-Bey did an excellent job of escalating and securing the pass away from his body for a 15-yard gain. The last was a 16-yard pickup to Miller down to the one-yard line.
  • In between, Vick found room to run for the first and only time of the game, scrambling for a big 24-yard gain on third and six.
  • Then, of course, the Steelers put the ball directly into Bell’s hands at the goal line, who had to straddle over one blocker and stretch out over the goal line as inches and seconds divided victory from defeat.
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